The American Pit Bull Terrier has been known by many names, including the Pit Bull and the American Bull Terrier. It is often confused with the American Staffordshire Terrier, however, the United Kennel Club recognizes the American Pit Bull Terrier as its own distinct breed. Affectionately known as “Pitties,” the Pit Bull is known for being a loyal, protective, and athletic canine breed.
The American Pitbull Terrier often gets a bad rap for being an aggressive breed. This is due to the fact that these dogs are often used for dog fighting. The reality of the situation is, however, that Pitties, as they are often referred to, are not aggressive by nature – any dog will become aggressive out of pain or fear if he is mistreated by his owners. When treated properly, the American Pitbull Terrier is one of the friendliest, most gentle-hearted breeds out there. If you are looking for an energetic and fun-loving family pet, the American Pitbull Terrier may be a great option.
The American Pitbull Terrier is one of the friendliest, most gentle-hearted breeds out there.
- American Pit Bull Terriers are not a good choice for people who can give them little or no attention.
- They must be trained and socialized when young to overcome the breed’s tendencies toward stubbornness and bossiness, which combined with his strength can make him hard to handle if he hasn’t learned you are in charge.
- Your American Pit Bull Terrier must be kept on leash in public to prevent aggression toward other dogs. It’s not a good idea to let these dogs run loose in dog parks. While they might not start a fight, they’ll never back down from one, and they fight to the finish. American Pit Bulls who aren’t properly socialized as puppies can become aggressive toward other dogs.
- Breed-specific legislation almost always includes this breed. Be aware of rules in your area as well as neighboring regions if you travel with your dog.
- American Pit Bull Terriers have a great need to chew, and powerful jaws make quick work of cheap or flimsy toys. Give yours only tough, durable toys that can’t be chewed up and swallowed.
- American Pit Bull Terriers are best suited to owners who can offer firm, fair training, and gentle consistent discipline.
- The term “Pit Bull” is often applied indiscriminately to APBTs, American Staffordshire Terriers and sometimes Staffordshire Bull Terriers, a British breed. The term may also be used to label any dog who resembles those breeds, even if he is a Lab mix with little or no “Pit Bull” in his background.
- An APBT comes in any color, pattern or combination of colors, except merle.
- Celebrities who count Pitties as their best friends include actresses Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel and Alicia Silverstone; cooking guru Rachael Ray; and political satirist Jon Stewart.
- Comparable Breeds: Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Bull Terrier
The Pit Bull Terrier was created by breeding Old English Terriers and Old English Bulldogs together to produce a dog that combined the gameness of the terrier with the strength and athleticism of the bulldog.These dogs (Bull and Terriers) were bred in England, and arrived in the United States where they became the direct ancestors of the American Pitbull Terrier.
|World War I poster featuring a pit bull
as representation of the U.S.
In the United Kingdom, Bull-and-terriers were used in bloodsports such as bull baiting, bear baiting. These bloodsports were officially eliminated in 1835 as Britain began to introduce animal welfare laws. Since dogfights were cheaper to organise and far easier to conceal from the law than bull or bear baits, bloodsport proponents turned to pitting their dogs against each other instead. Dog fighting was used as both a bloodsport (often involving gambling) and a way to continue to test the quality of their stock. For decades afterwards, dog fighting clandestinely took place in small areas of Britain and America. In the early 20th century, pitbulls were used as catch dogs in America for semi-wild cattle and hogs, to hunt, and drive livestock, and as family companions. Some have been selectively bred for their fighting prowess.
Pit Bull Terriers successfully fill the role of companion dogs, and police dogs,and therapy dog. Pit Bull Terriers also constitute the majority of dogs used for illegal dog fighting in America. In addition, law enforcement organisations report these dogs are used for other nefarious purposes, such as guarding illegal narcotics operations, use against police, and as attack dogs.
In an effort to counter the fighting reputation of pit bull-type dogs, in 1996 the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals renamed pit bull terriers to “St. Francis Terriers”, so that people might be more likely to adopt them. 60 temperament-screened dogs were adopted until the program was halted, after several of the newly adopted pit bulls killed cats. The New York City Center for Animal Care and Control tried a similar approach in 2004, relabeling their pit bulls as “New Yorkies”, but dropped the idea in the face of overwhelming public opposition.
Pit Bull Terriers come with a huge stigma – they are famous for being viscous fighting dogs, and evening news programs often highlight stories of Pit Bull attacks. Shelters are overrun with Pit Bulls, entire cities have banned the breed, and saying the name “Pit Bull” can strike fear into the hearts of some people. But a well bred Pit Bull who lives in a loving, caring home is the opposite of the “killer” splashed around on television. Pit Bulls are loving, loyal, clown dogs who make excellent companions or those with active lifestyles. They love being with people and want to be included in all family activities whether it’s a ride in the car, a neighborhood stroll or a romp in the park. While it’s true that in the wrong hands, Pit Bulls can be viscous, in the right hands, Pit Bulls can be sweethearts, which many owners describe as babies in a dog’s body.
The average life span of the American Pit Bull Terrier ranges from 10 to 12 years. Health concerns associated with this breed include actinic keratosis (solar keratosis), allergies, bloat (gastric dilatation and volvulus), cancer, cataractsM,congenital heart disease (particularly subaortic stenosis), cranial crutiate ligament rupture, cutaneous hemangioma, cutaneous histiocytoma, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism and von Willebrand’s disease.
Expect to spend about an hour a day walking, playing with or otherwise exercising this dog. While they love people, American Pit Bull Terriers are strong for their size and can be stubborn if left to their own devices. Begin obedience training early and continue it throughout the dog’s life. Training is the foundation for a strong relationship with your American Pit Bull Terrier.
American Pit Bull Terriers should not be left outside for long because they can’t tolerate the cold well. Even regardless the climate, these dogs do best as housedogs. They form strong attachments to their families and will suffer if left alone for long periods.
Pits will do okay in an apartment if they are sufficiently exercised. They are very active indoors and will do alright without a yard provided they get enough exercise. Prefers warm climates.
Training should be started early and always done in calm-assertive manner, as they won’t respond to discipline or harsh tones. Training is best done in short sessions due to Pit Bull Terriers’ short attention span and they will quickly become uninterested, even if treats are used as a reward. Lots of patience is necessary when working with a Pit Bull Terrier, as training can be a long process.
Even after a Bull Terrier is fully trained, they may decide to test their boundaries as they get older and project dominance. These situations should be handled with calm assertion; like a teenager, they just want to see what they can get away with.
Families with children should socialize puppies early on to accept outside children as welcome guests. While Pit Bull Terriers will bond nicely with kids in their own family, they can sometimes be aggressive to to other children and should be taught early on that all kids are to be welcomed with open arms.
The American Pitbull Terrier is a fairly active breed, known for its enthusiasm and eager-to-please attitude. These dogs require a long daily walk or jog to use up their excess energy. They also enjoy active play sessions and time spent in a fenced yard.
The grooming needs of the Pit Bull are modest. Brush his coat a couple of times a week to help manage shedding.
The rest is basic care. Trim the nails as needed, usually twice a month. Brush the teeth frequently — with a vet-approved pet toothpaste — for good overall health and fresh breath. If the ears look dirty, wipe them out with a cotton ball dampened with a gentle ear cleaner recommended by your veterinarian.
Children And Other Pets
American Pit Bull Terriers love children, and we don’t mean for breakfast. Sturdy, energetic, and tolerant, they are ideal playmates. That said, no dog of any size or breed should ever be left unsupervised with children.
When no adult can be there to oversee what’s going on, dogs should be crated or kenneled, especially after they reach sexual maturity, when they may begin to test the possibility of becoming “pack” leader.
Don’t allow children to pull on a dog’s ears or tail. Teach them never to approach any dog while he’s sleeping or eating or to try to take the dog’s food away.
Because of their dog-fighting heritage, some American Pit Bull Terriers retain a tendency to be aggressive with other dogs, but if they are socialized early and trained to know what behavior is expected of them, that aggression can be minimized or overcome, and many are dog- and cat-friendly. Just to be safe, they should always be supervised in the presence of other pets.
Is the American Pit Bull Terrier the Right Breed for you?
Low Maintenance: Infrequent grooming is required to maintain upkeep. No trimming or stripping needed.
Moderate Shedding: Routine brushing will help. Be prepared to vacuum often!
Easy Training: The American Pit Bull Terrier is known to listen to commands and obey its owner. Expect fewer repetitions when training this breed.
Very Active: It will need daily exercise to maintain its shape. Committed and active owners will enjoy performing fitness activities with this breed.
Not Good for New Owners: This breed is best for those who have previous experience with dog ownership.
Good with Kids: This is a suitable breed for kids and is known to be playful, energetic, and affectionate around them.
Did You Know?
Pit Bulls descend from crosses between Bulldogs and Terriers. The goal was to create a dog with the strength and tenacity of the Bulldog and the speed and agility of the Terrier.
Australia, Ecuador, Malaysia, New Zealand, the territory of Puerto Rico,Singapore, Venezuela,Denmark, Israel, France, Germany, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Switzerland have enacted some form of breed-specific legislation on pit bull-type dogs, including American Pit Bull Terriers, ranging from outright bans to restrictions on import and conditions on ownership.The state of New South Wales in Australia places restrictions on the breed, including mandatory sterilization.
Certain counties and cities in the United States have banned ownership of the American Pit Bull Terrier, as well as the province of Ontario in Canada. American Pit Bull Terriers are also on a list of four breeds that are banned in the UK.